The Fifth Dimension of Homelessness

Warning:  If you were searching for a pop music group or some deep analysis of Euclidean space and geometry, then keep on searching.  This post is not for you.  Sorry for the inconvenience.

Those of us not well versed in physics, mathematics, and geometry largely still know the first four dimensions of the space-time universe.  However, WE might go our whole lives completely unaware of the fifth, sixth, and/or the tenth dimensions.  It is enough for us to operate within a worldview encompassing height, width, depth, and time – mostly not thinking much of these four without ever even considering other dimensions beyond.

But I thought I might use this concept as a bridge to other considerations of homelessness.  I will use it as a metaphor to expand your mind and imagination into the dimension of LOVE.

I don’t mean to make this too complicated.  Nor do I mean to get mushy.  I think we can relate this to everyday common sense language, but still I hope to explore the other side of the veil.

Let me say this:  Last weekend, Mrs. Agent X and I had the pleasure of meeting Scarlet Gypsy in person.  She is a newly homeless person who spent a few nights of the Christmas season in her car in the general DFW metro-plex area.  In fact she watched the tornadoes that hit Rowlett and Garland last month FROM THE BACK YARD like Job talking to God in a whirlwind!

Anyway, as I said, she is newly homeless, and upon meeting her and visiting face-to-face, I was struck by the sensation she reported (and demonstrated) of having her eyes opened to realities she had not known.  This happened as she fell through the cracks of society – or we might liken it to Alice going down the rabbit hole!  There was (still is, I am sure) a lot of fear and shame to deal with in that descent.  But once there, she gathered her wits about her and began exploring.

Her exploration led her to pay us a visit here in Lubbock.  (She is employed and owns a car, so, though she is homeless by any stretch, she is not one of the nameless, faceless, chronic, street people that so often comes to mind when using that word.  Nevertheless, she is in danger of slipping that far down if she does not get some breaks and make good use of them in short order – thus the fear.)  And, well, she was able to make the trip with the idea that Agent X might be her tour guide to the streets – even if ever so briefly.

We took her on a circuit of campsites, services, and gatherings of Lubbock’s homeless.  She brought her Nikon camera and shot a lot of interesting photos.  She asked a lot of questions and interviewed both my wife and I – AND – a few street people she met along the way.

One of the themes that emerged for her very quickly was that every person she met living on the streets told her that they are only in this bind temporarily.  They all expressed both a desire and expectation of getting back to “normal” very soon.  No matter whether realistic or not, there is a great resistance to accept this living situation as a permanent fate.  Scarlett knows first-hand what they mean.

Granted, we only met a very small sampling of people from which this anecdotal observation arose, but it appeared universal and somehow understandable even in deep places where there are no words.  No one WANTS to live like this – not really.  We all want and need a place to belong, food to eat, clothes to wear, and a little love and respect – no matter how humble.

And now we reach a vantage point from which I can say something rather simple, and yet we have crossed the chasm that separated us before.  Looking at homelessness through Scarlett’s eyes (and camera) – especially BECAUSE she is newly homeless herself, which dictates an eye-opening experience – reveals what homelessness looks like in the LOVE dimension.  I mean it is certain that you see homelessness in the nightly news from time to time, out your car window from time to time, and read about it on blogs from time to time.  But when you cross that threshold from apathetic contempt into the sympathetic LOVE, you can look at the same exact things, but now you see them quite differently.

Scarlett is still formulating her thoughts for her next blog post.  But I hope some of my readers will go check her blog out and see what she sees.  She is down at ground zero telling us what it is like down in that crack she fell through.

She dares to think she will recover her life in a home soon, AND even more she thinks her eye-opening experience will lead her to reach out and serve others who fall between the cracks too.  She dreams of making ladders that she can drop into those cracks and coax others to come back up out of the dark place(s) where they are stuck.

I hope you will go there and encourage her.  And meanwhile, I expect I will offer posts that explore THE FIFTH DIMENSION of homelessness and offer clarity with this metaphor so that readers here can see what Scarlett sees – and more.

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